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Poster: Reade Date: Mar 24, 2011 8:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: YDIH- 1st post '71 Dark Star

Asleep at the switch yesterday I didn't get this out.

1971 represented a real scaled back approach to Dark Star, both in terms of the number of times it was performed (30% less or so than 1970) and the length of the tune when it was played. About half of the only dozen or so performances clock in around the 10-15 minute mark.
Jerry in the Summer '71 Rolling Stone interview mentions Dark Star consisiting of structural poles which 'occassionally get done away with.' Which might have to happen when you have personnel changes (exit Mickey in Feb. of this pivotal year, enter Keith of course in September).

By late March of '72 it's been over three months since the tune was last performed, Keith has undergone his baptism by fire, and Billy has had over a year to get used to being the only drummer again. It seems to me this day signals the beginning of the re-constitution of Dark Star; the first step in it's return to former glory.
It starts out like one of the 1971 mini-me versions, with the first verse happening before the five minute mark, then predictably starts to dissolve around 13-14 minutes. Then as if to say, 'Hey, it's not only a new year but Spring is here!,' (or something like that), Billy starts playing an uptempo thing that Jerry gets almost immediately. With these two leadng the way, a remarkble little ditty of a jam ensues and we even get the second verse before the tune peters out for real after 23 minutes.

A foreshadowing of the great things to come with this tune over the next 8 months.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 25, 2011 12:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: YDIH- 1st post '71 Dark Star

Nice writeup.

Here was my review:

"This Academy of Music Star is not much like the half-hour monsters that would soon follow in Europe. It most closely resembles the 10/21/71 Star, in being mainly aimless until redeeming itself in a climactic jam. By now Garcia has developed the Tiger jam - he'd been doing some meltdowns in his January '72 shows with Wales, and this Star has a distinct resemblance to some of those crazed jams. (Sonically, Garcia's tone sounds thinner here than in '71. He and Lesh are way up in the mix here though, so this Star is mainly their show - it doesn't sound like Weir is doing much.)
The intro jam is much shorter than in late '71, less than five minutes. It stays close to the Dark Star theme - Garcia tries out a quiet sputnik variation, then awkwardly launches into the Dark Star riff. He has a hard time adjusting the tempo and strays off-time, so they keep coming back to the riff. After the verse, they settle down into space and drift quietly, Garcia and Godchaux tinkling high notes. Garcia starts a lightly wah'd trickle, while Lesh putters around off on his own, testing out the speakers. Garcia digs into an aggressive repeating riff, and the others join in for a little jam which immediately dies down.
Here the mayhem starts as Garcia starts spiralling around, Lesh spurts out atonal bass grunts, and Kreutzmann kicks into action. Lesh, determined to go farther out than Garcia, turns up the volume and disgorges random, bizarre chunks of ground-up bass innards. (Or as the Compendium puts it: "Bonk, bonk, BONK!") The band descends into a meltdown while Lesh revs like a motorcycle - Garcia launches a short Tiger, and discordancy rules the stage. Lesh rams in loud chords as if trying to drown out everyone, but the others have calmed down and a more normal mood is returning. (This was much hairier than the Tiger they did in the 3/21 Other One!)
Around the 15-minute mark, a more structured jam finally starts - out of this, Lesh starts a 'happy' chord run. Garcia picks it up right away and soars spontaneously into a waterfall of melody. The band catches fire, and out of nowhere this tremendous jam turns into Feelin' Groovy. After a few minutes Garcia gracefully winds it down - but then unexpectedly bursts back into a Sugar Magnolia-type variation. For a few moments any direction is possible as the music opens up (Weir even hints at China Cat) - but Garcia drops back into the Dark Star riff instead of going further. We get the second verse, which would be a rarity in '72, then they totally screw up the outro. Kreutzmann sounds like he wants to start the Not Fade Away drumbeat, but the others just stop.
This Dark Star makes me wonder how much they'd practiced it over the winter months - while a song like Playing in the Band had grown by leaps & bounds from its '71 counterpart (probably due to rehearsals for Weir's Ace album), the Dark Star is uncoordinated and hasn't progressed much since '71."

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Poster: Reade Date: Mar 25, 2011 9:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: YDIH- 1st post '71 Dark Star

Thank you for the feedback!

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Poster: jglynn1.2 Date: Mar 24, 2011 1:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: YDIH- 1st post '71 Dark Star

Real nice. I especially like the Mr. Charlie on this one!!